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Please note that any sightings mentioned in news items do not automatically go into our records database. Sightings should be submitted using one of the mechanisms listed on the Recording page.


08 Aug 2022

Shipton Bellinger. It must be 3 years and definitely pre covid since I visited Shipton Bellinger. I went today as much for the Wall Browns reported there as the Brown Hairstreaks. The latter were playing hard to get - plenty high up but I couldn't find any low down. The former though were a revelation! The last Hampshire Walls I saw were on the Ancient Highway near Lymington many years ago and apart from the odd singleton wanderer (including in my own Lee on Solent garden) they seem to have been few and far between in recent years. There have though been reports of them at Shipton (and the surrounding area) for a couple of years now so it was great to see them really well established here. I saw them across much of the site - starting from where the path up from the village divides into two right across to the boundary hedge. I'm hopeless at counting (birds or butterflies) but must have seen 20+ minimum - and most in good condition. So, despite not seeing a Brown Hairstreak at eye level, a wonderful day. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Gatekeeper - Shipton Bellinger
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Wall Brown- Shipton Bellinger
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Wall Brown - Shipton Bellinger
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

07 Aug 2022

St Catherine's Hill. Early evening is one of the best times to visit our south facing downland sites during this hot weather. The butterflies are often more ready to settle and the light can be better for photographs.

We managed to find a few Silver-spotted Skipper and a single Clouded Yellow, plus many Chalk Hill Blue and Meadow Brown, with smaller numbers of Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeeper and Small Heath. [Posted by Rupert & Sharron Broadway]

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Silver-spotted Skipper at St Catherine's Hill
Photo © Rupert & Sharron Broadway
Silver-spotted Skipper at St Catherine's Hill
Photo © Rupert & Sharron Broadway
Clouded Yellow at St Catehrine's Hill
Photo © Rupert & Sharron Broadway

Unexpected sighting in North Baddesley. Seen today on my reserve at North Baddesley was Wall Brown, I saw one here 2 years ago but not a clue where they are coming from. Also seen today Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady, Chalk Hill Blue, Brown Argus, Small Heath, Silver-washed Fritillary, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, 12 Common Blue, Brimstone, Holly Blue, Comma, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small White, Large White, many Gatekeeper. Does not seem too bad considering the conditions. Now seen 32 different butterfly species here so far this season. [Posted by Kevin Ross]


05 Aug 2022

Oxenbourne Down. A short trip up to one of my local chalk downland patches and the butterflies didn't disappoint. Up to 35 Silver-spotted Skippers were seen whizzing about and feeding up, laying eggs and also mating. The Chalk Hill Blue was also in enormous numbers, but everything looks very dry and barren in places. I looked in on some of 'my' Cowslip patches and they have shriveled up to almost nothing, I just hope this isn't detrimental to the Duke of Burgundy colonies on site, next year should could prove very interesting in regards to numbers. We've had dry summers before, and the Duke of Burgundy can survive on the north facing slopes better, due to the fact they are not facing towards the sun. Other species seen were one female Dark Green Fritillary, Gatekeeper, Common Blue, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Ringlet. No Brimstones were seen and the Vanessids seem to have dived into hibernation really early. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Chalkhill Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Love is in the air...............
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Little fighter Jet
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

White Admiral larvae. I had several visits to Pamber Forest over the last few weeks, where I monitor White Admiral larvae - with 48 larvae now located. With the distinctive feeding damage and constructions created by the larvae, I'm able to confirm that another 10 larvae have already disappeared - presumed predated. However, all larvae are now in either their 2nd or 3rd instar and I have high hopes that most will make it to the point where they create a hibernaculum from a Honeysuckle leaf, in which they will overwinter. A few larvae are already in the process of doing this, indicating that this is a particularly early year for this butterfly. [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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A 3rd instar larva at the end of its 'pier' created from silk and frass
Photo © Pete Eeles
A 3rd instar larva sitting next to its 'aerial latrine'
Photo © Pete Eeles
A larva in the process of creating its hibernaculum
Photo © Pete Eeles

04 Aug 2022

The Wrong Hairstreak. Having put in the hard yards searching for Brown Hairstreak eggs at Stockbridge Down back in the winter, we went back to search, unsuccessfully, for adults today.

We did, instead, encounter a White-letter Hairstreak in remarkably good shape. There were phenomenal numbers of Chalk Hill Blue on the wing, together with varying counts of Brimstone, Large White, Clouded Yellow, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and Speckled Wood: and singles of Small Copper, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Silver-washed Fritillary. [Posted by Rupert & Sharron Broadway]

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White-letter Hairstreak at Stockbridge Down
Photo © Rupert & Sharron Broadway
Clouded Yellow at Stockbridge Down
Photo © Rupert & Sharron Broadway

Bedlam Plantation. A visit to a lesser known area on the Hampshire side of the large Army ranges in and around Tidworth close to Shipton Bellinger. The weather was warm but overcast most of the time with very little breeze which to me is perfect conditions for butterfly watching. Arriving just before midday the butterflies were in full swing and the first butterflies seen were two Wall Browns both chasing each other, a territory dispute I suspect, this put me in the mood to find more. There were plenty of Brimstones, Brown Argus, Common Blues, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Small Heaths, also a couple of Silver-spotted Skippers. The Walls just kept on coming and on the edge of a farmers field where there were sufficient areas of wildflowers, these areas produced up to twenty odd Wall Brown's over a course of a couple of hours. On the way back to the car-park, I espied a female Brown Hairstreak which was fresh as a daisy, and also there were still Wall Browns to be seen and females were also seen being much larger than the males and were easy to Identify, feeding on Thistles. Probably one of the most satisfying 'mini' field trips I've ever done, a big plus for Military sites which are largely untouched by pesticides and other nasties and are full of hedgerows, with blackthorn and birds song plenty of Ravens were heard and Yellowhammers, and Long Tailed Tits, chattering in amongst the hedges. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Brown Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Wall Brown and Meadow Brown
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Army range close to Tidworth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

03 Aug 2022

Stockbridge Down Part 1. Thirteen species recorded on an extended walk (1140-1420) over the western and northern ranges of the down. Under grey skies, a drop or two of rain with the temperature around 21 degrees Celsius the butterflies were in abundance. We decided to keep a full count of the Chalk Hill Blue and Meadow Brown which species were very prominent indeed. Total: Meadow Brown (178); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(839)(F)(64); Gatekeeper (20); Speckled Wood (3); Small Heath (6); Marbled White (M)(1); Green-veined White (M)(1)(F)(1); Common Blue (M)(2); Large White (3); Small White (2); Dark Green Fritillary (3); Brimstone (M)(1); Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Chalk Hill Blue (female lower)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large White male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown female at left
Photo © Francis Plowman

Stockbridge Down Part 2. From 1455-1620 we covered the southern and eastern expanses of the down determining to put a 'cap' on the numbers of the predominant butterflies! There was initially some warm sunshine but it was soon replaced by grey clouds with a pleasant temperature around 23 degrees Celsius. Ten species were recorded. Total: Chalk Hill Blue (M)(60+)(F)(55+); Meadow Brown (55+); Common Blue (M)(11)(F)(1); Small White (6); Small Heath (4); Large White (3); Adonis Blue (M)(1); Gatekeeper (2); Silver-washed Fritillary (M)(1); Speckled Wood (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Chalk Hill Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Adonis Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Moth trap in my garden at Leigh Park. I had my moth trap on overnight in my garden in Leigh Park. Some of the highlights included Jersey Tiger, 12 Garden Tiger, Gold Spot, 2 Tree-lichen Beauty, Marbled Green, a female Oak Eggar, 2 Rosy Rustic, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Spectacle etc. [Posted by Barry Collins]


Unusual butterfly??. This butterfly flew into and out of my conservatory door around 12.30 today and is now settled on small plant in the garden. Nearest thing on ID sites that I can find is a Scarce Swallowtail? [This has been identified as a Jersey Tiger moth - P. Eeles] [Posted by Phyllis Toms]


01 Aug 2022

North side of Portsdown. On my fifth attempt this year I managed to observe a brown hairstreak whizzing around the top of the trees shortly after 1300 before it settled about 10m up a tall ash tree. Hopefully there will be a few more in the weeks to come. A single purple hairstreak was also seen despite the lack of oaks. [Posted by Peter Gammage]


31 Jul 2022

Vanishing Vanessids. The summer census of vanessids at the Longstock Park buddleja collection produced the most dismal total yet. The buddlejas in their prime, the tally comprised just one Red Admiral and one Painted Lady, with a Large White and a Meadow Brown as the also-rans. At Great Fontley three weeks ago, the nettles hosted hundreds of Small Tortoiseshell larvae, many in their final instar, but not one imago has been seen there since. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]


30 Jul 2022

Chalk Hill Blue surprise. Arriving back home in Chandlers Ford, after a great day out in the Tidworth - Shipton Bellinger area on a BC Wiltshire Branch field meeting, I'd just sat down in the back garden to quench my thirst with a cup of tea, when to my surprise an unmistakable chalky blue butterfly alighted on our Buddleia. I immediately realised that it was a male Chalk Hill Blue, so quickly rushed inside for my camera. On my return, it had moved from the Buddleia, but posed nicely on the ground, basking in the weak sunshine. This is the first time this species has been recorded from the garden, and becomes butterfly No.26 for our all-time garden list, and the 16th species of 2022. The remarkable thing is that there's no chalk downland anywhere nearby, so clearly this individual must have wandered some distance. Looking on a map I could see that BC's Yew Hill nature reserve is the nearest breeding population. As the crow flies, we lie just 2.73 miles SSW of Yew Hill, so it shows how butterflies will explore the surrounding landscape. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Chalk Hill Blue (male)
Photo © Andy Barker

Haslar & Gilkicker, Gosport Shore. Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub

1045-1105 was long enough to determine that this parched field has just about finished with butterflies for the year. Total: Meadow Brown (3); Common Blue (M)(2); Gatekeeper (1).

Gilkicker Point and Adjacent Fields

1115-1245 (temp 23 deg C) produced sightings of just 7 species. No sign of incoming Clouded Yellow today despite the on-shore SW breeze. On the landward side the area remains boggy and huge swathes of Fleabane and similar added much colour but sadly there were few takers. Total: Gatekeeper (18); Small White (3); Common Blue (M)(4); Holly Blue (1); Meadow Brown (6); Comma (1); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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The solitary Gatekeeper of Haslar!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male at Gilkicker
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma feeding on Fleabane, Gilkicker
Photo © Francis Plowman

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. By one o'clock the sun had largely given way to high cloud and the temperature a pleasant 23.5 deg C as I circulated Monks Walk until 3.30 pm. Eleven species recorded. Summer has peaked so much earlier than 2021 and numbers are reducing sharply. However, some very fresh Speckled Wood are now appearing including two brightly marked females. Another pleasant observation was - for the third successive Summer - to find Chalk Hill Blue, a solitary and fresh male, roosting on tall grass in the butterfly meadow. After 20 minutes it was still dangling inverted from the grass not at all troubled by the Common Blue males and Brown Argus that flittered around it. Total: Small White (7); Holly Blue (7); Gatekeeper (30); Red Admiral (5); Meadow Brown (15); Large White (3); Common Blue (M)(8)(F)(2); Speckled Wood (F)(2)(M)(10); Comma (3); Brown Argus (1); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Chalk Hill Blue roosting
Photo © Francis Plowman

29 Jul 2022

West Wood Farley Mount. Short walk produced lots of common stuff, Commas, Brimstone etc but managed perhaps 10+ Dark Green Fritillary and 5+ Silver-washed Fritillary and one (female I think) Purple Emperor. I've never seen them at this location before but have been told that they'd been photographed earlier this year. [Posted by Rob Sawyer]


Stockbridge Down. A wonderful couple of hours spent at Stockbridge Down, where the Chalk Hill Blue are in incredible numbers - literally 1000s all over the down, with plenty of mating pairs and, best of all, large congregations of males on recently deposited dung, and rabbit carcasses! I also saw 6 Silver-spotted Skipper which are just emerging and 2 Adonis Blue males. A few worn female Dark Green Fritillary are still around and I also saw what is probably my last Marbled White of the year. Also lots of Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and a few Small Heath and newly emerged Brimstone. [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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Male Chalk Hill Blue on dung
Photo © Pete Eeles
Mating Chalk Hill Blue
Photo © Pete Eeles
Another Chalk Hill Blue congregation on a Rabbit carcass, with a male Adonis Blue (far left)
Photo © Pete Eeles

28 Jul 2022

Jersey Tiger in Fareham. Jersey Tiger sighted in Fareham Hunts pond road by the allotments First sighting for me [Posted by Alistair MacGregor]


Dessicated Hogmoor SANG. Went over yesterday with a friend to Hogmoor heathland SANG, Bordon. Spotted several Gatekeepers and it seems to be a good year for them. Some of the heather looked very brown and dried out so was concerned we might not find any Graylings. We spotted one on a sandy path on its own and then in the centre of the heath found a cluster of bell heather with 5 of them settling on the flowers. So I was very pleased to confirm their continuing presence on Hogmoor. [Posted by Jim Smith]


Jersey Tiger. Jersey Tiger sighted in Fareham Hunts pond road by the allotments First sighting for met [Posted by Alistair MacGregor]


Unusual visitor at Yew Hill. In over 30 years of regularly visiting Yew Hill, I don't think I've ever previously seen a Silver-washed Fritillary at the site, but, sure enough, there one was this morning, a rather worn male on a sheltered patch of oregano in the company of many Gatekeepers and male Chalk Hill Blues. The latter seem to be doing very well at the reserve this year and there were also one or two Clouded Yellow on the wing. [Posted by Rupert Broadway]

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Silver-washed Fritillary at Yew Hill
Photo © Rupert Broadway
Silver-wahed Fritillary and Gatekeepers at Yew Hill
Photo © Rupert Broadway
Chalk Hill Blue at Yew Hill
Photo © Rupert Broadway

Broughton Down. A rare trip to Broughton Down this morning proved very successful. A good number of Chalk Hill Blues were active and several slightly-faded Dark Green Fritillary were still flying. Several fresh Small Coppers were holding territory and two nationally rare Tawny Longhorn Beetles were found by the lower path. A total of four Silver-spotted Skippers were found by the old Drove Road and on the western area of the reserve. Walking back along the upper path, a surprise find was a male Brown Hairstreak nectaring on Wild Carrot. A great end to a very pleasant morning. [Posted by Dave Pearson]

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Silver-spotted Skipper on Field Scabious
Photo © Dave Pearson
Brown Hairstreak on Wild Carrot
Photo © Dave Pearson
Tawny Longhorn Beetle and friend
Photo © Dave Pearson

27 Jul 2022

Old Winchester Hill - Part I. Something of a butterfly bonanza today with 22 species recorded on the top of the hill following the pathway towards and then around the hill fort before descending along the valley side then cutting right back to the main path (right hand one) back to the car park. From 1045-1305 there was a strong breeze from the south but often swirling and the temperature around 20-21 degrees Celsius. Total: Green-veined White (2); Gatekeeper (134); Meadow Brown (70); Small White (8); Small Skipper (11); Dark Green Fritillary (3); Marbled White (8); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(69)(F)(2); Small Tortoiseshell (4); Essex Skipper (2); Common Blue (M)(13)(F)(2); Comma (1); Ringlet (1); Peacock (7); Red Admiral (4); Small Copper (1); Large White (1); Small Heath (1); Painted Lady (1); Brimstone (M)(7)(F)(3); Clouded Yellow (6); Speckled Wood (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Gatekeeper mating (female open-winged)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady
Photo © Francis Plowman
Chalk Hill Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Old Winchester Hill - Part II. After lunch from 1330-1445 (21 deg C) and still with plenty of warmth, I descended the car park slope to the valley floor covering one or two of the small paths as well as the main chalk path to the bottom gate. The breeze was less intrusive but fewer species were recorded. Total: Speckled Wood (1); Gatekeeper (12); Peacock (1); Meadow Brown (80); Small Tortoiseshell (3); Brimstone (F)(2)(M)(1); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(123)(F)(7); Small Skipper (9); Common Blue (M)(8)(F)(3); Dark Green Fritillary (7); Small Heath (1); Brown Argus (1); Clouded Yellow (3); Small White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Clouded Yellow on knapweed
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Heath
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brimstone male
Photo © Francis Plowman

26 Jul 2022

Garden Visitor in Four Marks. On the evening of the 26th around 18:30 I was watering the garden with a static spray. I noticed a large dark butterfly come into the garden and fly in and out of the spray several times before flying around me and finally settling on the window sill. I managed one photo with my phone, couldn't believe it a female Purple Emperor!! She then took off to the trees where she was imbibing water from the leaves, There is only one large oak close to the garden, my house being 50 metres from the A31 in Four Marks. The closest concentration of oak being in Old Down Wood about half a mile away, where there is also Sallow. But in 15 years of watching the area I have never seen sign of Purple Emperor in there. This sighting comes off the back of a Purple Hairstreak 2 weeks ago! [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Purple Emperor
Photo © Chris Rose
Purple Emperor
Photo © Chris Rose

Shipton Bellinger - transect. This afternoon's butterfly transect at Shipton Bellinger produced some excellent sightings, including 3 Brown Hairstreaks low down, and no fewer than 10 Wall. Such high numbers of the latter (both males and females), is especially encouraging, for what is undoubtedly the Hampshire stronghold for the species. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Brown Hairstreak (male) on bramble
Photo © Andy Barker
Brown Hairstreak (female)
Photo © Andy Barker
Wall (male)
Photo © Andy Barker

25 Jul 2022

In our garden at Leigh Park. While we were doing a few jobs in our garden in Leigh Park this afternoon. We saw at least 3 male Oak Eggars flying around the garden together. Plus another nice surprise in the form of a juvenile Marsh Tit our first this autumn feeding on a sunflower heart feeder. [Posted by Barry Collins]


24 Jul 2022

Paulsgrove Chalk Pits. Today I paid a visit to Paulsgrove Chalk Pits. Here several second generation male Common Blues were seen. Totals: Large White 3, Small White 6, Common Blue 11m, Meadow Brown 4 and Comma 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


23 Jul 2022

Oxenbourne Down. Today I visited Oxenbourne Down where the temperature had reached 24 degrees. Here male Chalk Hill Blues were flying everywhere. Totals: Brimstone 1m 1f, Large White 1, Chalk Hill Blue 170m 6f, Gatekeeper 15, Meadow Brown 5, Small Heath 1, Peacock 1 and Small Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Today I visited Chalton Down where the temperature was 22 degrees. In some areas the once low turf is now shoulder high with wild grasses. Totals: Brimstone 1M 1F, Large White 2, Chalk Hill Blue 31M, Gatekeeper 2, Meadow Brown 5, Comma 1 and Silver-washed Fritillary 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Charlton Down and Barnetts Copse. My last look for the Purple Emperor today , and I was just East of the Queen Elizabeth Country Park complex close to the Hampshire/Sussex border. There were Chalk Hill Blues aplenty on Charlton Down, with a sprinkling of Common Blues, and Dark Green Fritillary were still very evident with several males and females in good condition. Marbled Whites were very low in numbers and ones seen were very tatty. Good numbers of Essex Skippers and Small Skippers flying between flowers and dry grasses. In the woodland complex on the border the male Silver-washed Fritillary were still frantically trying to mate with the last of the females. Several Dark Green Fritillary were still patrolling the rides. There wasn't much else one White Admiral, and a female Purple Emperor flying from one side of the ride onto the other at 14:30, in the heat of the day was probably ending a bout of egg-laying. This area has been a good source of Purpleling for me in 2022. Which added to the other encounters in the past seasons makes it the most Eastern of the Purple Empire in Hampshire. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Chalkhill Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
2nd Gen Dingy Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Skipper at rest
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

22 Jul 2022

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. A week ago we recorded 18 species here and today 14! After the gloom and rain of the morning a walk from 1340-1700 (20.5 deg C) provided plenty of butterfly interest and six pounds of blackberries to boot! Total: Speckled Wood (19); Small White (7); Gatekeeper (81); Meadow Brown (21); Red Admiral (4); Comma (8); Large White (3); Common Blue (M)(8)(F)(1); Ringlet (2); Holly Blue (5); Small Skipper (5); Purple Hairstreak (1); Green-veined White (F)(2); Marbled White (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Ringlet female
Photo © Francis Plowman

Graylings - Moonhills Car Park, New Forest. We had tickets for Exbury Gardens today - as we were arriving an hour before it opened decided to stop off at Moonhills Car Park for a bit of a wander. It was 09:00, overcast, trying to rain and gusty winds so I really wasn't expecting to see much, but took the camera just in case!

As it happens there were plenty of Gatekeepers in and around the gorse bushes and the odd Meadow Brown. And then when we were heading back towards the car I spotted my first Grayling of the year flash by in the wind. A further three more were seen and were happy to settle for their photos.

We didn't go to Exbury for the butterflies but even with the weather conditions being far from perfect there were lots of Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns around. Others seen were: Common Blues, Marbled Whites, a Small Skipper, a Painted Lady, Speckled Woods and a couple of Commas. [Posted by Nic Burns]

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Grayling
Photo © Nic Burns
Grayling
Photo © Nic Burns
Grayling
Photo © Nic Burns

21 Jul 2022

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. Fifteen species observed from 1550-1710 today on a walk around three sides of the fort when the temperature stood at a pleasant 24 degrees Celsius with very light southerly airs. The fields are, as were the southern slopes of Portsdown Hill yesterday, absolutely stunning with nature's field and hedgerow colours. But for my (long-suffering) acting (unpaid) recorder I would have walked past the one Clouded Yellow - a male - that was found seeking peace and quiet in the long grasses after a long transit no doubt. It tolerated one or two shots before disporting itself over the fence into the fort's depths. It would later reappear and was more tolerant (resigned?) to another approach. Yellow at last! Total: Holly Blue (3); Gatekeeper (30); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(3); Small White (8); Comma (3); Meadow Brown (40); Small Blue (4); Common Blue (F)(6)(M)(17); Large White (3); Small Skipper (16); Marbled White (1); Clouded Yellow (M)(1); Essex Skipper (1); Small Copper (1); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Clouded Yellow male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Gatekeeper male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman

20 Jul 2022

Portsdown Hill, Portsmouth. So, if Clouded Yellow isn't on our shores, go to a flower-strewn chalk hill. Well it wasn't found there either! From 1340-1505 we covered the northern area of the main slopes, the top-path being somewhat overgrown. The sun was full-on and temperature 25 degrees Celsius. Portsdown Hill is bedecked with summer flora and the Chalk Hill Blue is predominant, the male at least. Total: Gatekeeper (12); Large White (5); Meadow Brown (27); Common Blue (M)(3); Small Blue (3); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(64)(F)(4); Small White (8); Brimstone (M)(1); Small Skipper (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White mating pair
Photo © Francis Plowman
Chalk Hill Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman

Chilling & Brownwich Coastal Area, Titchfield. From Chilling car park we walked the small wood, then field edges towards Brownwich cliffs. Then heading west along the cliff top path towards Warsash for about 400 metres before retracing steps, passing Brownwich pond, cutting down a small path behind the houses before returning to Chilling. From 1030-1250 (temperature 22 deg C with a stiff southerly breeze which was very strong over the cliffs), we recorded 15 species. Not a sign of Clouded Yellow. (In fact, for two months in SW Germany recently where the Clouded Yellow is found everywhere, we saw not one! Is it going to be a poor year for this butterfly?) Total: Small White (68); Speckled Wood (20); Meadow Brown (70); Large White (42); Comma (4); Gatekeeper (111); Marbled White (2); Small Skipper (15); Common Blue (M)(2); Purple Hairstreak (1); Green-veined White (3); Peacock (2); Red Admiral (1); Holly Blue (2); Small Tortoiseshell (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Purple Hairstreak under surveillance!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown female
Photo © Francis Plowman

19 Jul 2022

Moth Trap - Jersey Tigers. I have a moth trap in my Lee on Solent garden, as much for my grandchildren as it is for me. They particularly like the odd Hawkmoth we find but were surprised this morning to discover 5 Jersey Tiger moths in the trap. One very obligingly settled on the rockery plants and then opened its wings briefly to show that wonderful orange colour so I couldn't resist a couple of photos on what I appreciate is predominantly a butterfly site. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Jersey Tiger - Lee on Solent
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Jersey Tiger - Lee on Solent
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Moth trap in my garden at Leigh Park. I had my moth trap on overnight in my garden from 18th July, at Leigh Park. It was an exceptional night with 62 species caught. Some of the highlights included 11 Elephant Hawk, Dark Crimson Underwing, 4 Four-spotted Footman, 6 Dingy Footman, 7 Rosy Footman, 4 Buff Arches, Garden Tiger, Tree-lichen Beauty, Gold Spot, Double Kidney, Drinker, Rosy Minor, Barred Hook-tip and 2 Double Square-spot etc. [Posted by Barry Collins]


Creech wood Brown Hairstreak. Just for your general info- I saw your group at Creech wood on Sunday 17th & was impressed by the number & variety of butterflies there. On revisiting today I saw a male Brown Hairstreak on the ground in a sunny ride. On both occasions I saw a White Admiral. I wish I’d seen a Purple Emperor- maybe next year?! [Posted by Heather Rowe]


18 Jul 2022

Deviation Line Fareham & Adjacent Field. A two hours' (1010-1210) meander up and down the old deviation railway line out of Fareham Hill Park towards its (former) juncture with today's mainline at Knowle and the adjacent (right-hand side) field nearing the end of the walk, brought sightings of 15 species. The temperature was rising mid-20s but under the canopy of the woodland trees, not at all unpleasant. The field is abundant with thistle or knapweed and much ragwort and similar yellow flowers. The grasses are tinder dry and the earthen path shows signs of cracking in places. Most of the Small Skippers were female many of which were egg-laying. Total: Peacock (1); Gatekeeper (42); Meadow Brown (38); Small White (4); Speckled Wood (18); Holly Blue (1); Large White (6); Silver-washed Fritillary (4); Brown Argus (5); Small Copper (1); Small Skipper (9); Ringlet (3); Red Admiral (1); Marbled White (M)(1); Comma(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Female Small Skipper egg-laying
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large White female
Photo © Francis Plowman

17 Jul 2022

Browndown South, Gosport. Two recent searches on Browndown North for Silver-studded Blue were unavailing. Today's necessarily late (1530-1715) and rather cursory wander through the southern area of Browndown revealed one male Silver-studded Blue and one in fresh condition. Perhaps the specie emerges later here? The temperature was a pleasant 25 degrees Celsius with a fresh South-easterly breeze making it a really enjoyable walk. The model aeroplane club was active thus restricting access to many hedgerows and main meadow but the heather-strewn heath and 'sea' of pebbles with its 'islands' of small oaks provided the anticipated rewards of Grayling and Purple Hairstreak. Total: Meadow Brown (13); Gatekeeper (46); Large White (1); Grayling (2); Essex Skipper (2); Common Blue (M)(6); Silver-studded Blue (M)(1); Small Skipper(8); Purple Hairstreak (3); Holly Blue (1); Small White (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Silver-studded Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling
Photo © Francis Plowman
Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Francis Plowman

Clouded Yellow. It's always worth checking your local sites, as you never know what you might encounter. Whilst surveying a few sites around the northern edge of Southampton, it was nice to encounter a couple of fresh Painted Lady, but the highlight was a Clouded Yellow, in a small meadow on the NW edge of the city. Rather than the usual yellow form it was the pale creamy white variety 'helice'. I'm presuming these hot southerly winds may be bringing a few migrant butterflies from the continent, so well worth keeping an eye out for more Clouded Yellows over the coming weeks, especially along the south coast, and on flowery chalk downland sites. The meadow with the Clouded Yellow also produced a beautifully fresh male Brown Argus, which was an added bonus and the first one I'd recorded from the site. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Clouded Yellow (var. helice)
Photo © Andy Barker
Painted Lady
Photo © Andy Barker
Brown Argus (male)
Photo © Andy Barker

Creech Wood Field Trip. Creech Wood is a lesser known Purple Emperor wood, in the Forest of Bere complex and today we were at the weathers mercy but as it turned out the breeze in some of the rides was quite welcome. We saw a sprinkling of Silver-washed Fritillary, and one or two White Admirals, and in the more open rides there are lots of wild flowers particularly meadow and downland flowers several Brown Argus were seen, and in the wayleaves a Chalkhill Blue was spotted. I suspect these have come from nearby Portsdown Hill. Several Holly Blues were also seen along the usual fare in the rides. We didn't see the Purple Emperor in the rides, although there was a possible sighting of a female, but we did see several males at one of the Assembly Points close to the major car-park. These were rather ragged and look as if they may only have a few more days left in this oppressive heat. Many thanks for a splendid turn out in such difficult weather conditions, thank heaven for shade in the rides! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Brown Argus in the rides
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Searching the rides for that illusive Emperor!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Assembly Point observations
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Magdalen Hill - Chalk Hill Blues +. I had a wonderful time wandering around Magdalen Hill this morning. It ended up very warm but was a bit too windy for getting good photos, that being said there was plenty to see.

Chalk Hill Blues were by far the most numerous - also seen were Brimstones, Brown Argus, a Clouded Yellow, a Comma, Common Blues, Gatekeepers, a Green-veined White, Large Whites, Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, three Painted Lady, Peacocks, a Red Admiral, Ringlets, Small Heath, Small Skippers, Small Whites and a Speckled Wood. Along with lots of Six-spot Burnets, a Shaded Broad-bar and a few Mint moths. [Posted by Nic Burns]

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Male and Female Chalk Hill Blues
Photo © Nic Burns
Brown Argus
Photo © Nic Burns
Clouded Yellow
Photo © Nic Burns

Moth trap in my garden at Leigh Park. I had my moth trap on in my garden overnight from 16th July, at Leigh Park. Some of the highlights included 7 Elephant Hawk, Privet Hawk, Poplar Hawk, Swallow Prominent, Ruby Tiger, 9 Buff Ermine, female Scalloped Hook-tip, Spectacle, Evergestis limbata etc. [Posted by Barry Collins]


16 Jul 2022

'Explosion'at Defence Munitions Gosport. Of the 145 butterflies recorded at Bedenham within Defence Munitions, 55 were Gatekeepers, inc. one pair in-cop, followed by Meadow Brown (35), Small / Essex Skippers (18), Speckled Wood (15), Large White (8), Marbled White (6), pristine male Common Blues (4) and Brown Argus (2), while the Dutch Elm coppice sported two late White-letter Hairstreaks. Moving south to the ancient Elson Wood in search of White Admirals, we were to be disappointed, and had to settle for Purple Hairstreak (3), two more Brown Argus, and a solitary Comma. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]


15 Jul 2022

Straits Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. After visiting Abbots Wood Inclosure at Alice Holt Forest, I made my way to Straits Inclosure where the temperature had increased to 24 degrees. Here many Ringlets were in flight. No signs of any Purple Emperor activity. Totals: Brimstone 1F, Large White 2, Green-veined White 6, Gatekeeper 4, Meadow Brown 1, Ringlet 22, Peacock 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 10 and Small Skipper 4. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Abbots Wood Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. Today I paid a visit to Abbots Wood Inclosure in the morning before temperatures started to increase. The temperature was around 19 degrees. Here I searched for the Purple Emperor but was unable to locate any males. I did see a low flying Purple Hairstreak and a single White Admiral. Totals: Small White 4, Holly Blue 1, Purple Hairstreak 1, Gatekeeper 3, Meadow Brown 6, Ringlet 16, Comma 1, Peacock 2, Silver-washed Fritillary 10 and White Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Four hours from 0840 realised sightings of eighteen species. Temperature ranged from 20-24 deg C with a pleasant breeze under full sun. Total: Large White (10); Peacock (3); Gatekeeper (70); Speckled Wood (21); Small White (16); Meadow Brown (30); Small Skipper (43); Common Blue (M)(9)(F)(2); Essex Skipper (14); Brown Argus (4); Red Admiral (5); Comma (7); Ringlet (7); Marbled White (M)(1)(F)(1); Purple Hairstreak (2); Brimstone (M)(2)(F)(1); Green-veined White (3); Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brown Argus with Small Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Essex Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

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